Blood of Extraction by Todd Gordon & Jeffery R. Webber

It seems that Latin America is not given much attention these days, unless an international event like the Brazil Summer Olympics directs our attention to that sector of the globe. Yet, there is a multiplicity of issues occurring there as a casual look at the BBC’s Latin America news page proves: economic unrest and uncertainty in Venezuela, a huge cocaine haul in Bolivia, and a drug lord’s luxury prison cell in a Paraguayan prison were just some of the headlines there at the time of this writing.

Subtitled “Canadian Imperialism in Latin America”, Blood of Extraction collaborators Todd Gordon (an Assistant Professor of Law and Society and Social Justice and Community Engagement at Laurier University) and author Jeffrey R. Webber have produced a splendid book that will no doubt be well-received by sociologists, economists, investors, historians and other groups when it is released in November 2016 by Fernwood Publishing.

What Blood of Extraction attempts to accomplish (and highly succeeds at doing so) is the unveiling of the surprising extent of Canadian involvement (via resource extraction) in the growing unrest and rise of opposition movements in Latin America. In fact, just reading these few words in the Introduction was an eye-opener for me (as so many of Fernwood’s books are):

…..these [mining] companies and their owners are getting incredibly rich from Latin America’s mineral wealth, at the expense of the often impoverished communities that are left to deal with legacies of dislocation, poisoned water sources, and, not uncommonly, the violence that makes all this possible…..The lies of the big mining companies, sweatshop manufacturers and other investors need to be demolished so that the economic elites behind them, as well as their political backers, can be held to account.

Tough statements, but they are backed up by the author’s extensive research through thousands of pages of Access to Information documents and interviews carried out throughout Latin America, resulting in a very pertinent and authoritative book.

This book, of just over 350+ pages, is divided into four parts and countries such as Honduras, Guatemala, Columbia, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela and the Andes are covered in-depth. Blood of Extraction may not be written for the casual reader but as a research tool I am sure it will prove invaluable to many educators as well as investors, activists and other groups desiring to act in an ethical and socially responsible way.


Blood of Extraction will be released in November 2016. You can pre-order copies at the Fernwood Publishing site: https://fernwoodpublishing.ca/book/blood-of-extraction

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